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OSP Director's Corner

By Dara Little

Announcing our FY13 Annual Report and What’s New in this Issue

As we begin a new academic year, OSP is pleased to announce that NIU faculty and staff secured over $30 million in external funding for fiscal year (FY) 2013.   For highlights and a link to the full report online, see the article, FY13 Annual Report of NIU’s External Funding

Meanwhile, federal agencies are bracing for their new fiscal year that begins October 1.  This past year, most federal agencies met the sequester restrictions with reductions in programs and fewer and smaller awards.  With the sequester still in effect, uncertainty remains with budgets for the new fiscal year.  As agencies announce their funding plans, OSP will bring the campus updates through our Newsletter website, listserv and Facebook page. 

 As the National Science Foundation (NSF) promised, they have been working to consolidate some of their funding programs, particularly in the area of STEM education.  In this issue of our newsletter, we announce the competition for a newly released NSF program, Research on Education and Learning (REAL) that has combined three NSF programs.  (Under Funding Opportunities, see the Education and Economic Development section for complete information and deadlines for the new REAL program; the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics section includes for more NSF funding news).    

OSP’s Contract Coordinator, Kristin Duffy, attended the Network of Academic Corporate Relations Officers (NACRO) Conference this month. A major topic of discussion was “big data” and potential academic/industry opportunities for working with the variety of such mass quantities of data that are now available.  See Kristin’s article, Conference Report: Big Data and Implications for Corporations, Communities, and Research.

Last year, OSP held a Chat session on campus regarding how to develop large collaborative proposals.  We continue that discussion through the article, Collaborative Grant Proposals:  Four Reasons to Collaborate.  We will describe different types of collaborations and collaborative proposals in future newsletters. 

A budget element that is often misunderstood is that of Facilities and Administrative costs (commonly known as Indirect Costs or Overhead).  I describe the importance and impact of such costs in my article, Demystifying Facilities & Administrative Costs.

Dr. Lisa Freeman, Vice President for Research, and David Stone, Associate Vice President for Research, describe new initiatives and programs from the Division of Research and Graduate Studies in the article, NIU Sustains External Funding in FY 2013; OSP and DRGS Look Forward to Supporting NIU Funding Efforts for FY 2014.

Rita Yusko, Manager of the Technology Transfer Office, describes the importance of confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements before sharing ideas, research, and proprietary information in her Division Update.  NIU Research Integrity Coordinator Shannon Wapole provides an update on the Huskie Commons data repository in her Division Update.

OSP is kicking off the new academic year with a re-designed website that includes both updated and new content along with an e-newsletter. Some new features of our website include expanded funding information and news, guidance for completing a myriad of proposal components ranging from how to start the writing process to how to develop a budget, a new section on Engaging Industry and Contracts, and more guidance for investigators who are managing active sponsored projects. 

Through our e-newsletter, we’ll provide faculty and staff information on matters pertaining to sponsored projects in a timely and transparent manner. Our newsletter consists of three main sections: 1). articles on various external funding topics; 2). funding opportunities and news; and 3). feature columns that include the OSP’s Director’s Corner, a Technology Transfer Corner and a Research Compliance Corner.  Our newsletters will be released as Fall, Winter and Spring issues.  We’ll update our website, listserv, and Facebook page throughout the year with time-sensitive information.